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The stress to relax – Nerdful Mind #106

January 23, 2022 by Simon Mannes

It can occasionally be pretty stressful to remember to take time for yourself. It's kind of a paradox. The desire to do something good for ourselves creates stress. How does this happen and what can we do about it?

There are multiple reasons this happens:

  • It attacks our identity. If you think of yourself as a meditator, or a Yoga person, or as disciplined with your habits, not honoring these parts of your identity can feel like losing this part about yourself.
  • Not working on your habits feels like failure. We chose those habits for a reason, right?
  • We know the more stress we have, the more we need time for ourselves. And the thought that “if I could just take this weekend off, I'd be less stressed” creates stress.

The desire to go for a walk, read a book, play a game, or mindfully drink a cup of tea is good. But when this desire itself creates stress and adds to the negativity, it's a problem.

There's no easy fix. The best I can offer is what works for me:

  1. Honor your need for relaxation by taking some time for yourself, even if it's just the half hour before going to bed.
  2. Ask yourself if there is a clear and definitive end in sight for your current stressful time. If you have an explicit date to look forward to, everything feels a little easier. If not, change something about your situation.
  3. Learn to feel inside you how much time you actually need for yourself (so you don't power through if you badly need a break). Mindfulness and compassion exercises help tremendously if you are, like me, having a hard time acknowledging your needs.
Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. — Dr. Seuss

Reading Recommendations

Paying Attention (or why I love coffee so much)

“The cup at Little Owl had flavor notes and subtleties to it that had somehow snuck away from me at home. I had produced cups like this before, but it had been a while. As I stood there watching the barista carefully tend each cup, pouring the water just so, I realized what a hurry I had gotten into making my daily cup. My coffee ritual had gone from among my favorite parts of the day to a banal set of steps I followed to get my fix.”

The Mind and Mental Health: How Stress Affects the Brain

“Stress can be taxing on your body. But can it actually change the brain's physiology? Science says yes. We examine how stress affects the brain.”

Building an Effective Test Pipeline in a Service Oriented World

“Learn about how we built an integration test pipeline for the testing of critical business flows spanning across multiple services in Airbnb. Over the past 2 years, Airbnb engineering has been working on a major initiative to migrate from a gigantic Rails Application to a decoupled service-oriented architecture, or SOA, as we call it internally. As a result of the migration, some critical business flows that used to live in a monorepo are now converted to separate SOA services. Testing these services became a challenge…”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Breathe in and straighten up.

Breathe out and find relaxation in this upright posture.

Breathe in again and make yourself a little bigger.

Breathe out and again find relaxation in your posture. Release tension in all muscles you don't need for this.

We build up so much tension over the day, while our posture gets worse. It's great for body and mind to do it the other way around from time to time.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!